50 federal lawmakers urge President Tinubu to release IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu

50 federal lawmakers urge President Tinubu to release IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu
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Approximately 50 members of the Nigerian House of Representatives have formally requested President Bola Tinubu to release the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

The appeal, which is based on Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution, emphasizes the powers vested in the Attorney General of the Federation to discontinue cases on grounds of public interest, justice, and prevention of legal process abuse.

Ikenga Ugochinyere, representing Ideato Federal Constituency, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday that the lawmakers view Kanu’s release as pivotal for peace restoration in the South-East region.

Ugochinyere stated that the letter, dated June 19, 2024, was endorsed by representatives across various political parties and geopolitical zones.

Kanu, who has been leading a campaign for the creation of the Biafra Republic, is currently facing trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja for his separatist activities. Recently, he expressed his willingness to negotiate an out-of-court settlement with the government.

The political party breakdown of the signatories includes 23 members of the Labour Party, 10 from the PDP, nine from the APC, three from APGA, and one from the NNPP.

An excerpt from the letter highlighted the lawmakers’ collective belief in President Tinubu’s “Renewed Hope” agenda and the necessity of Kanu’s release to foster national unity and address long-standing grievances in the South-East.

The letter read:

“Your Excellency, we are concerned members of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with a strong belief and trust that the Renewed Hope agenda of His Excellency and the various positive reforms will be seen and felt by all.

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“It is against this backdrop that we, the undersigned, hereby beseech Your Excellency to direct the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN, to invoke his powers of nolle prosequi under the provisions of Section 174(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Section 107(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, and cause the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from detention and discontinue his trial, which we collectively believe is long overdue and would be instrumental in opening the door for much-needed conversations surrounding peace, reformation, and inclusivity, as well as addressing the issues that led to the agitations, especially at this time when Nigeria is going through several constitutional reforms.

“Your Excellency, we resolutely believe that this singular act can serve as a pivotal gesture towards national unity as it would address some of the political, security, and economic concerns in the region. It would encourage stakeholders from the South-East to engage more actively in the national discussions on the Renewed Hope agenda, thereby promoting inclusivity and addressing long-standing grievances.

“This we believe will also help in dismantling the apparatus of violence and restiveness that has plagued the region, allowing for a focus on economic growth and development. Also, it is coming at a time when the nation-state is under enormous pressure, including but not limited to unemployment, insecurity, hunger, and poverty, thereby de-escalating tension from all sides.

“Moreover, we as key actors in the Renewed Hope agenda of Your Excellency are not unmindful of the fact that Your Excellency has extended this gesture through the office of the Attorney General in the charge involving Omoyele Sowore wherein he was charged with treasonable felony in Charge No. FHC/ABJ CR/235/2019, Sunday Igboho, etc.

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“All these recorded tremendous successes, especially the crisis within the North-Central, North-Eastern, and South-South regions, not forgetting peace efforts in the Niger Delta region, which have helped in so many ways. The establishment of the North East Development Commission, Ministry of the Niger Delta, Niger Delta Development Commission, Presidential Amnesty, Various Host Community Laws, etc., were all commitments to show good faith to the plight of the people as well as resolving regional conflicts.

“It is therefore our conviction that fixing the challenges in the South-East would go a long way in changing the narrative and showcasing your commitment to upholding the principles of the rule of law, justice, and fairness, which are the bedrock of our democracy. It would also set a precedent for addressing issues through dialogue rather than prolonged political-cum-judicial persecution and a brass show of executive lawlessness.

“We, therefore, implore Your Excellency to adopt this approach, save the South East, and pave the way for a national conversation to restore, safeguard, and better the resources and economic activities in the South East. The primary responsibility of the government is the protection of lives and property. Facilitating the release of Nnamdi Kanu would demonstrate a commitment to upholding the principles of justice and fairness, which are the bedrock of our democracy.

“Your Excellency, the benefits of such a bold and compassionate act are manifold. It would pave the way for peace initiatives, economic revitalisation, and a renewed sense of belonging among the citizens of the South-East.

“It would also enhance your administration’s legacy as one that prioritises national unity, peace, and progress. We are hopeful that you will consider this request with the gravity it deserves and take the necessary steps to bring about a new era of peace and inclusivity in Nigeria. Thank you, Your Excellency, for your attention to this important matter, and we look forward to a positive response.”

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